Baking the change

I’m just starting my third week here in Room Y and working in innovation has been a really interesting and thought-provoking experience so far. Down in Room Y we are encouraged to get creative and be ourselves, so I thought I would write about baking since it’s something I enjoy and as The Great British Bake Off is returning to our screens soon it seems only fitting.

Funnily enough I’ve found that baking has a lot of similarities to innovation; from trawling through Pinterest to gain inspiration (research stage) all the way through to eating your finished product (testing your prototype). Here’s a little recipe for the steps of Design Thinking (a tool used to innovate in Room Y) that I prepared earlier…

Step 1: Recipe hunting (Research)

The first step is conduct some initial research. In innovation you may have an initial vision of where you want to end up but research is required to fully understand your customer’s pain points and requirements. In terms of baking we need to answer some key questions such as:

  • Why do you want to bake? (Are you hungry? Is it a special occasion?)
  • Who is going to eat it?
  • When do you need to make it?
  • Does anyone who is going to eat it have any allergies?

Step 2: Why are you baking? (Define)

Next step — you need to define your problem. You can do this by creating a problem statement based on the research completed in the previous step. Now although this isn’t something you can directly compare to a step in baking it is something you will naturally do before you start thinking of ideas. Here’s an example:

Jessica’s birthday is next week, there’s currently no dessert, none of her other friends have time to bake before then, and someone has asked if you would have time to bake something.

This is a fairly simple problem statement but it covers all of the five W’s and defines the problem. Sometimes this step is also used to define what is in and out of scope — maybe someone has a nut allergy so this would then rule out recipes containing nuts.

Step 3: What are we baking? (Idea generation)

Next it’s time to “think outside the box” with some idea generation. Go wild with ideas here, don’t limit yourself by thinking about what can easily be achieved. Look at the problem from different angles, and think about solutions from different points of view. Once you have as many ideas as your team can generate, you need to narrow your ideas down based on what is feasible and which ideas best address the problem statement. In innovation you’ll be coming up with ideas for solutions to customer pain points, whereas in baking you’ll decide what you’re going to bake and how it’s going to look.

Step 4: Combine your ingredients (Concept development)

In concept development you look to clarify your requirements, often through the use of a Value Proposition Canvas and a Business Model Canvas. Similarly in baking you will use this step to choose your ingredients and combine them in preparation for baking.

Step 5: Bake (Prototype)

Next you want to prototype your solution, either partially or in full so that you can show your idea to others. This is the part where you need to put your bake in the oven.

Step 6: Eat it! (Test)

The final step is to test the prototype.

Feedback from your users may mean that something needs tweaking, this is where the idea of iterating your design comes in — the aim is to continually improve upon it each time.

Testing your cake is arguably the best, but sometimes the most nerve-wracking bit of baking. Did everyone enjoy the cake? Does it fulfil all of the requirements? Would Mary Berry be proud? Remember to save some for yourself though!

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I hope you have found this post useful, and that it’s not made you too hungry? If you’re now feeling inspired to do some baking we are more than happy to test your prototypes in Room Y!

Get baking, innovators!

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